Europe’s common future. Ways out of the crisis

Dossier: Europe’s common future. Ways out of the crisis

The EU not only finds itself in a debt crisis, it is also faced with a crisis of confidence: two crises that mutually reinforce one another. The nationally spun controversies over long-term counter-strategies and the social distortions in the countries affected by the crisis not only threaten to break up the euro zone, they also jeopardise the project for a unified Europe. The protest against ʺBrusselsʺ is turning into manifest tendencies to renationalise in some countries.

All of this is taking place within the framework of yet another crisis – that of democracy. In the current climate, ʺmore Europeʺ sounds like more political centralisation for many Europeans. The citizens of the EU will only perceive Europe as their own when they themselves can also make decisions about the course Europe’s future should follow. Now is the time for a broadly based public debate on alternative proposals for the future of Europe.

We would like to contribute to the debate with this dossier. We ask all readers to comment on the articles about the various facets of the crisis and the right strategies for overcoming it and to discuss these issues with the authors. We are looking forward to your responses!


Conference Documentation


Conference: Europe’s Common Future

- November 7, 2012 - During the three years of Europe’s crisis many supposedly rock-solid certainties about the European Union have been shaken up. Today, even dedicated Europeans do have to admit that, in its present shape, the EU may be one of the casualties of the crisis. At our conference Europe’s Common Future such concerns about a possibly disastrous failure of the Eurozone were palpable.  Torsten Arndt more»

Visions for Europe

Diversity and Community: On the Future of the European Union

- December 5, 2012 - When we speak of the future of the EU, it’s about more than saving the Euro. The question is whether Europe wishes to remain relevant as a strategic actor. If it does, then we must strengthen internal solidarity, as well as our capacity to act externally.  Ralf Fücks more»

Which Europe do we want?

- September 24, 2012 - If Europe is to make it through the crisis it has to nurture its past and continue defending its particular vision of the future and its method of solving problems. It also has to do its utmost to maintain the political, institutional, and economic balance among its member states. José-Ignacio Torreblanca more»

Setting a new course for Europe

- 13. August 2012 - Too little, too late, too one-sided! This is how the criticism of Europe’s approach to solving the crisis is often formulated, and justifiably so. The core of the crisis is a problem of trust between the citizens in Europe and between the citizens and their governments. Rebecca Harms mehr»

Less can be more

- August 14, 2012 - More Europe. Conservatives, social democrats, liberals and Green Party members seem to agree that this is the answer to Europe’s financial and debt crisis. We really do need more Europe if we want to make the euro crisis-proof. The exciting question is how. In other words: how much do we want of which Europe?  Franziska Brantner more»

The Final Countdown

- June 18, 2012 - Today, we have to remember that hundreds of thousands of Greek workers helped power the post-war German industrial renaissance. Today, millions of Germans are powering Greece’s only “heavy industry” – tourism. In view of the present crisis we will have to understand that the road ahead is a long one – but to jump off a cliff is not a viable shortcut. Dr. Nikos Chrysoloras more»

Ways out of the financial and economic crisis

Higher Environmental Taxes as Solution to the Economic and Financial Crisis

- December 11, 2012 - The EU countries affected by the crisis find themselves in a dilemma. They have to ensure economic growth and employment while, at the same time, they need to reduce costs and save money through higher taxes. A new survey indicates: environmental taxes are the most effective tool in this context – and simultaneously conserve resources.
Kai Schlegelmilch more»

Controversy: do we have to save the euro?

- October 1, 2012 -

Is it mandatory to save the Eurozone, no matter what the price? Are there other visions for Europe’s future? Roger Bootle, executive director of the consultancy Capital Economics (London) and Andreas Krautscheid, member of the executive board of the German Banking Association, will discuss the pros and cons at the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s international conference Europe’s Common Future. more»

What Kind of Growth for Europe? Lessons from Greece

- September 26, 2012 - Using the example of Greece, Anna Visvizi illustrates what kind of growth European countries need. She points out, that the strategy of the EU can not only focus on promoting economic growth per se but must be aimed at the fundamental factors for a sustainable socio-economic growth. more»

The Political Crisis: A Better Europe Starts at Home

- July 20, 2012 - As market reforms and budget consolidation meet increasing political constraints, it is perhaps not surprising that the call for “more Europe” has become louder. While such eagerness for the European project should be welcomed, in fact it is not genuine but rather motivated by the short-term interests of political classes.  Rainer Emschermann more»
Solar energy power plant in southern Spain

A Green Europe to Solve the Euro Crisis

- June 15, 2012 - From the euro crisis to a long-term vision: In Southern Europe, there should be immediate investment in solar energy. This would show EU citizens in the north that solidarity can provide them with cheaper renewable energy and citizens in the south would experience that reforms do serve a more integrated, greener, and more just Europe.  Ferdi De Ville more»

Paths to a social Europe

Protests in Spain

A Vision for a Social Citizen's Europe: The European Commonfare

- October 4, 2012 - The current crisis is not a crisis of confidence, nor is it purely financial in character. The current crisis is, above all, a device for domination, spoliation, and precarisation. What we witness today is the depredation and expropriation of common goods, of wealth, and of rights. What we need is a common social, fiscal, and budgetary policy. Aitor Tinoco i Girona more»

European social policy: Urgent need for clarification

- August 8, 2012 - Europe unilaterally imposes austerity measures without drawing a line to define minimum social standards. The result is that social achievements are being dismantled overnight. Now the call for a more socially oriented Europe has become louder. We have to make social security systems more European.  Annalena Baerbock, Anna Cavazzini more»

Ways out of the democratic crisis


Giving European Citizens a Say

- August 22, 2012 - The EU is facing a crisis. But this crisis is not only about a currency. When Europe’s citizens are only spectators while governments are taking decisions, democracy is in danger. To reduce this lack of democracy we do need a better election system, effective participation instruments for EU citizens and European referenda.  Gerald Haefner interviewed by Christine Pütz more»

The Only Solution to the European Crisis is Democracy

- August 22, 2012 -

Europe finds itself in a crisis. For everyone involved it is clear that a solution to the crisis requires the reduction of economic imbalances. However, it is impossible for the EU to legitimate itself only by its economic value these days. The EU’s economic crisis must be politicized and the EU citizens have to be encouraged to take an active part in a solution.  

Ulrich K. Preuß more»

Civil Society Goes Brussels

- August 9, 2012 - Businesses have long since grasped it – and now civil society is following suit: Whoever wants to make political gains can no longer afford to be solely active in their respective capitals. Whether it is about the environment, about consumer protection, about civil society in the digital age – increasingly Brussels is the place where the action is.  Falk Lüke more»

Democracy Needs Attention

- 8. August 2012 - Yet for several years Europe's academics and politicians have stressed the need for a European public as a basis for a vital European democracy - but how this public could be constituted remained unclear. The Europe-wide protests against ACTA showed: a European public has to emerge from above. Jan Philipp Albrecht mehr»

The EU – A Maze of Acronyms?

- August 7, 2012 - They play a key role in Europe's democratic processes but for a majority of the population they resemble a black box: the European political parties. To fulfill their importance public awareness should be strengthened and it has to become clear that European elections are about European parties, not purely national ones. Annalena Baerbock more»

Germany's role in the crisis

Through Czech Perspectives: The Euro Crisis and Germany’s Role

- November 13, 2012 - Is the Czech Republic “a European state without Europeans”? Vladimír Handl analyses the dissolution of the Czech consensus, its relationship to the German approach in rescuing the EU, the “nation-state-based” current in Czech politics and the risks of Euroscepticism.
Vladimír Handl more»

Germany's role in the crisis

- September 28, 2012 - Germany appears to have come into its leadership role in the crisis involuntarily. Nevertheless, it is time that Germany also acknowledges that the crisis can only be overcome together with solidarity and stability and a sustainable future foundation for the European Union.  Viola von Cramon more»
The Euro sculpture in front of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt

Germany is crucial for the future of Europe

- August 21, 2012 - Germany, as seen from the perspective of its neighbour Poland, is primarily the engine of the European integration. But at the same time, the German debate on European politics is viewed by the Poles both with some mistrust and the concern that the upcoming euroscepticism and populism signifies the end of Europe’s future.  Cezary Michalski more»


The Future of European Democracy

- December 4, 2012 - The EU debt crisis has clearly shown that the monetary union cannot be upheld without coordinated fiscal and economic policies. But many citizens are under the impression that their voices, and those of their national parliaments, are being sidelined in favour of ever-greater centralisation – and that, in the process, democracy is being eroded. more»

Executive summary

Solidarity and strength: The Future of the European Union

- November 8, 2011 - Economic and environmental challenges that threaten to overwhelm the European project. The Heinrich Böll Foundation has set up a commission to examine the future of the EU. This publication puts forward a series of proposals in areas such as foreign and security; agricultural; energy; economics and monetary and enlargement policy. more»

Publication Series on Europe, Volume 6

Solidarity and Strength - The Future of the European Union

- April 3, 2012 - This volume is the result of the work of the Commission on the Future of the European Union. The Commission, composed of 60 renowned experts from the worlds of politics, science and civil society, was charged with sketching out future prospects and drafting recommendations for key areas of European policy – areas crucial for giving a new dynamic to European cooperation. Christine Pütz, Bastian Hermisson more»
Publication Cover: Can Europe rise to the Challenge? EU Policy Responses to the Global Crisis


Can Europe rise to the Challenge? EU Policy Responses to the Global Crisis

- 19. Oktober 2010 - The effect that the economic and financial crisis has had on the European Union and its policies is the central theme of this publication. The authors have looked at European policies from different angles. They have analysed and evaluated how the Union has dealt with the different aspects of the crisis: which measures have been successful, which have failed and what still needs to be tackled. mehr»



The Future of Europe

- August 16, 2012 - From its inception, the European project has been an evolving one. As circumstances have changed and as the Union has expanded in size, its power and policies have adapted. Following the financial crisis and the ensuing Eurozone crisis, the Union is once again debating its future direction. GEF aims to be at the forefront of this debate, and in 2012 will work with its partner organisations across Europe to organise discussion around this topic. more» more»
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